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    Rallying intolerance in the valleys: explaining support for extreme right in Wales

    Harris, Gareth (2013) Rallying intolerance in the valleys: explaining support for extreme right in Wales. British Politics 8 , pp. 433-456. ISSN 1746-918X.

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    Abstract

    Until its decline at the 2012 elections, the British National Party (BNP) was the most electorally successful extreme right party in the United Kingdom. Yet, although the party’s electoral growth in England has attracted attention, individual and contextual drivers of BNP support in other areas – namely, Wales – have been ignored. The lack of research is puzzling, given that the party has actively campaigned beyond England and attracted some support for its ethnic nationalism amidst a resurgence of support for Welsh nationalism. Drawing on a range of data, we examine the socio-economic, political and demographic drivers of BNP support in Wales. At the aggregate level, we find the party performs strongest in economically insecure and urban areas that have large social housing sectors, high deprivation rates, low education levels, large numbers of residents in precarious occupations, and which have experienced the largest increases in unemployment rates since the onset of the financial crisis. Politically, our findings suggest that the BNP has also rallied votes in areas where turnout is low, and where support for Labour has traditionally been strong. Individual-level analysis of ‘core’ and ‘soft’ supporters reveals that although they share a similar profile – less-well educated and middle-aged men who tend to be skilled workers – soft sympathy appears more widespread among women and younger citizens. Foremost, and despite a broader context of comparatively low migration and ethnic diversity rates in Wales, both groups of supporters are driven to the extreme right by concerns over immigration, which appear to be tied strongly to broader feelings of political abandonment. In contrast to results in England, our findings suggest that immigration-related concerns do not stem from the actual presence or proximity of immigrant and/or minority groups. Rather, it appears that structural economic disadvantage, political disenchantment and the perceived negative impact of immigration provide a more convincing explanation for the limited electoral appeal of the extreme right in Wales.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): right-wing extremism, Wales, voting, minor parties, BNP
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Politics
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2014 13:52
    Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 11:59
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/8400

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